Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Homeless and lost

Can you imagine being in the situtation described below?

How does this happen to a person?

How does community break down so terribly around us?

A thousand "little" decisions, good and bad, when strung together can result in the loss of a life.

What might have happened had we been able to provide this man a home? How might his story have been different?

What opportunity to change a life, make a difference will I encounter, but miss, today?

God have mercy on us. God help us to do better as we count our many blessings.

"I received a notice that a homeless veteran by the name of J. L. Sharpe, born January 27, 1957 was struck and killed in an accident while walking along Stemmons Freeway October 17, 2008. Mr. Sharpe spent a short time in the Army in the 1970’s. He was wearing a plastic black watch on his arm and a blue lighter in his pocket, but there appears to be no information regarding where he was born, what he did for a living, or even what J.L. stands for.

"He will be buried Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery at 10:30 am in Lane A.

"Dignity Memorial Homeless Veteran Burial Program has made all arrangements. Does anyone have any information regarding this person?"

Ron Cowart
City of Dallas, Crisis Intervention Division



Chris said...

A home might help, then again it might not make much difference. My husband mentors an ex-offender who got out of prison a few months ago. He is relatively young, under 50, and is not retarded. He has 14 brothers and sisters who are doing well financially who do not lift a finger to help him. My husband spent a lot of time taking him around to get his new life. He took him to take his drivers test to get a license, this took hours. He took him to the public hospital to get a gold card for free medical care. A couple of weeks later he lost his wallet and the procedure had to be repeated. He didn't take his medication and had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance. He got his foot infected wading in the waters of Ike and almost lost the foot, and may yet, due to infection. He rode the city bus and lost his wallet again last week. (why was it not in his pocket, who knows?) This man does have a roof over his head but it apparently doesn't make a lot of difference. This is not even half the story.

Anonymous said...

chris, and your point is?????

Anonymous said...


You always seem to find the dark corners of every story and every thought. It must be hard to live with such a lack of hope.

I guess I, too, miss the point, unless you're trying to say that, because help doesn't always succeed, we should do nothing. But then we're back to point "a" above.

BTW: Kudos to your husband for trying!

Chris said...

What I am trying to say is that there is some kind of basic problem that all the houses in the world won't solve.

Larry James said...

Chris, I'm sure you can find all sorts of "other examples," but here in Dallas we've had 50 apartments available for our use with formerly homeless persons. To date, we've filled all of the units. We've had only 5 people leave the program in the past year. Three came and left in the first week, just not for them evidently. Two passed away at home due to compromised health status from years on the street. The rest are still in place, and doing very well.

Anonymous said...

How can they know when he served in the army and not know his name?

Larry James said...

I'm not sure. Possibly the armed services can't provide the info, maybe they haven't checked thoroughly. I think the message had two intentions: 1) attempt to find family and 2) just report on a grim situation. Next time I see Ron I'll try to remember to ask.

Anonymous said...

J.L. may not stand for anything. I have seen "driver's license" names that are just initials.

mundiejc said...


Living as a citizen of the Kingdom of God is often times messy... there aren't always the traditional happy endings we'd like to see... but that doesn't change the fact that we know the end of the story, and even when we work and work and work with people and see no changes, we just put our head down and keep working. One day, when the curtain seperating heaven and earth will be pulled back and the reign of God will come in full, and I have no doubt that the resurrected bodies of those who were helped in this life will remember the kindness, and the Lord will most certainly remember.

Steve said...


Many people just need a week of help, but many need to undo a lifetime of bad choices that have become habits...even a life of saying yes to Demons. I made a decision to give my life to Jesus and then spent two years making a lot of helpful people angry, and disappointed.

That was 25 years ago, and by God's Grace, and the grace of his kids here on earth, in a process that at the time seemed as slow as a glacier, I can now say that God does and will change anyone...because I have the proof. I am the proof.

If one is seen as a project, he soon picks up on that, and often will even use that as an excuse to not hang in there, saying "I was just their good deed for the day/week/month." BUT if that man feels that he is your brother...even to the point of getting under your skin so much that you chew him out, and want to give up on him, then come back to him and say you need Grace, and so will give a little more, if he will accept your apology for losing your temper....again. I bet there might be some change...in one of you!